You’d never know I’m this messed

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The first time I heard I had a good poker face was in Grade 11 human geography class. The tables were situated in a horse shoe around the instructor, so she could see each of us clearly. I was starring at her as she talked, as there was nothing on the projector and taking notes wasn’t necessary at the moment. Her eyes caught mine and she stopped mid-sentences. “Meaghan, I can’t tell if you’re angry and hating this or if you’re just really into what I’m saying.” Everyone looked at me and I was so glad the lights were dimmed because I could feel my cheeks burning.

I use this poker face to my advantage when being hilarious, playing tricks on my friends and trying to convince my partner that I spent the day at the casino with my mum.

I didn’t realize that I’m a master at using it to hide my anxiety until a friend told me over tea this past summer that she didn’t know when I was anxious because I hid it so well. Behind anger.

Shedding that anger, I still hide it well, apparently.

I started a new med last weekend right before driving to Calgary with my mum for a week visit with her and my pops. The first few days were fine, and then suddenly I tripped balls. I felt high, but without the fun stuff. I was hyper-aware of my surroundings, jumpy and antsy. My head felt bloated, yet light.

I couldn’t wait to get away from my parents because I couldn’t imagine what I looked like to them. Relieved when they went to bed at 9:30, I started researching the drug and my reactions. Mostly, I was worried about my mania. After a panicked call to my partner in which I told him I was pretty sure the drug had kickstarted bipolar disorder (as I’d read it could do) or an extreme mania that I’d never sleep through, I calmed down.

Obviously, I didn’t take the drug the next day, but instead called my dear doc to let her know.

Later in the day, I told my mum about the conversation I’d had with my partner the night before and laughing at my paranoia. “I didn’t know it was that bad,” she said. “You were acting normal to me.”

Since starting to be public about what’s going on with me, so many people have told me about their own anxiety disorders. These were all people who I never would have guessed had issues. Some mentioned highly anxious moments we’d shared together, although I didn’t notice they had the same internal panic as I did at that time.

It’s a good reminder that you never know what someone else is going through, even when they’re standing right in front of you. I could start to have a panic attack in front of you, and you might not even realize that’s why I run out of the room without an explanation.


podcast artwork4This week on Rambling’s of an Anxious Mess, I’m getting super real and talking about how shitty I’m starting to feel about myself for having mental health issues.

I’m fucked. I’m crazy. I’m insane. All things I’ve told myself in the last week, and I hate it. But, what I’ve learned from the above experiences is, I can sure hide it well from you.

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My anxiety went away… sike!

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A few months ago, I went on meds. The Zoloft was just supposed to relieve some of my suffering for a few months while I found some ways to deal with myself. It wasn’t long before all my anxiety completely and totally dissolved. No more panic attacks, no sweaty palms when talking to new people. My heart beat was always normal unless I was exercising and there were no headaches for miles.

I was more confident and had an easier time talking to people, both folks I know and people I don’t. I even agreed to speak on a panel at Prairie Comic Fest, a commitment which would have landed me vomiting and crying in the bathroom a few years ago.

Life was great. I was cured!

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A wonderful photo by my Boston pal, Jenn Abbe. Click on the image for more of her work.

Ha ha ha ha ha!!!

What a silly thought.

The anxiety slowly crept back, although I ignored it until it mounted into a panic attack, leaving me sobbing in frustration. I thought it was gone. I thought I was done with the difficulty breathing and extreme nausea. WTF???

I was back in bed with a throbbing headache and overall feelings of unsteadiness. That was a place I never thought I’d be again.

Anxiety is emotionally, mentally and physically draining. The effort it takes to worry about and fight it off just leaves me more exhausted. So, I think I need to give in.

Dealing with anxiety is fucking hard. There’s no way around it. As much work as I do to be okay, I think I might probably forever have at least the odd anxious day. That understanding has come from talking to friends, reading what others have to say and knowing myself, and it’s fucking crushing.

But the more I accept that this is likely just how I’m going to be skipping through life, the easier I think it’s going to be to deal with it because I won’t be wasting energy having an internal temper tantrum every time I wake up in a panic.

I had a little chat with my doctor and she upped my dose. The plan is to get me to a place where I have almost no anxiety, keep me there for a year and then take a look at my life and discuss slowly coming off them.

That path will be much smoother, I think, now that I understand it’s going to be full of potholes and wrong turns.


podcast artwork4On this week’s episode of Ramblings of an Anxious Mess, I talk about how accepting anxiety as a part of my life and who I am has actually helped lessen its grip on me.

Anxiety leads to hilarious embarrassment

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Sometimes, we all do embarrassing things. Sometimes, we can’t even think about those things later without cringing. Although, we so seldom actually take notice of others walking into poles (without the distraction of a cellphone). And, if we do, we rarely think about the accident for years or judge the injured too harshly.

However, I always thought everyone noticed everything I did, judged the shit out of me and remembered forever.

Until recently, for years after something happened, I’d have to push the memory away before it was fully formed in my brain because it was so painful to think about.

In Grade 8, I was walking down the hallway and the boyfriend who had dumped me the night before (over MSN) was walking towards me. In an attempt to look casual and also too busy to take notice of him, I stretched my arms up, up, up and feigned a yawn. Not really the smoothest move to begin with, but a lot less so considering I had massive, dark sweat stains around the pits of my light grey sweater. Thinking about that for years after, I used to shudder and have to fight back tears of embarrassment.

More than a decade removed, it’s pretty hilarious. Oh, little Meg. So silly.

My bud Tony joined me on this week’s episode of Ramblings of an Anxious Mess to chat about the strange things we’ve done because of anxiety. Most of this stuff is recent and most of it is hilarious. At least, we’re choosing to laugh about it.

I don’t want to spend my life being mortified by my own weirdness, especially since I am a pretty odd little duck. So, I choose to laugh at myself.

Here are some strategies I use.

Picture it from another person’s perspective: I did walk into a pole once while out with a dog. I wasn’t on my phone. I wasn’t talking to anyone. I was sober, it was light out and I had had my morning coffee. I wasn’t even really looking anywhere but straight ahead. I was just so lost in my head, I walked into the pole. My first instinct was to run home and hide. Instead, I looked around for someone who had seen it. I wanted to laugh with them. No one saw, and I was a little disappointed that only I got a chuckle out of it. Although, I did spend the rest of my walk with Naomi laughing, out loud, at myself and trying to picture what happened.

Use it as comedic material: As I held the door open for the caretaker of my building, he wished me a happy new year and reached his arms out for a hug. My hand made contact with the sleeve of his jacket before I realized he wasn’t going for a hug; he was putting his hand on the door. I looked down and ran. I fucking ran. And then avoided him until he was no longer the caretaker. But, I told everyone I knew. I still tell that story when I think someone could use a laugh. Others use it as well. That bit made it far in early 2016 and spread cheer through dreary post-holiday season Winnipeg.

Imagine it happened to a friend: Hearing about friend’s doing stupid shit is as entertaining as hearing about single friends’ dating lives. Even though it sounds a little bit awful, you’re jealous that’s not your life. You’re also excited to have the hilarious story to focus on and tell others about, kind of how my friends spread the story of me almost hugging the caretaker. However, when it’s your story, you get to tell it. A friend of mine once accidentally pepper sprayed herself. I was there. It was fucking awesome. Except that she was in pain and is a little over me telling everyone the story. If it happened to me, I wouldn’t feel like a jerk for every time I fall over laughing about that. Or for publicly sharing it here. But, guys, it was awesome.


podcast artwork4Those are my non-anxiety related embarrassing stories.

This week, on Ramblings of an Anxious Mess, my buddy Tony joined and we shared some of our most embarrassing anxiety related stories. We’re wildly hilarious and weird. I highly recommend you listen to our stories. And, maybe, you could be a brave little toaster too and share yours? Let’s all giggle together and pretend we don’t have issues with anxiety. We’re just really, really funny. Right?